Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Metallic taste disturbance

A mystery has been solved.

In July, during our family vacation week in Wisconsin, I suddenly had a strong metallic taste in my mouth. It was so strong that it concerned me, and I went to a clinic to find out what might be going on. The nurse practitioner kept asking me if I had a sour taste in my mouth. No, I said, not sour. Metallic.

She examined my mouth, could see nothing amiss, so suggested it was nothing to be worried about. The metallic taste finally went away after about a month.

Then, last Friday, I got it again. And this time I remembered a warning label I'd seen (and ignored) on the bag of pine nuts I used in a butternut squash and leek lasagne we had for dinner Thursday night.

Pine nuts from Trader Joe's,
product of Korea, Russia, and Viet Nam

And...the bag has been stored in my freezer since mid-July, when I used the first part of it to make pesto sauce to take to our family vacation week. I hadn't noticed the warning label when I opened the bag in July.

Metallogeusia is what I am experiencing. I've never had this problem before now (and July), and I've eaten pine nuts in the past. Luckily, no one else in my family had the problem when I did in July - and everyone ate the pesto sauce.

I also found this news story, from ABC News in July 2010, which says there is an upsurge in cases, and the FDA is investigating and wants the public to report any occurrences.

Hello, FDA?


  1. Well, that is fascinating and disturbing at the same time. I'd love to know the exact causative factor. Are you keeping the nuts? They're so pricey it would be hard to get rid of them, but your experience is rather alarming.

    Makes me glad I used walnuts in our pesto this summer...

  2. Mrs. Micawber - From what I've read, it may only be certain varieties of pine nuts, and I guess there are a number of them. One article I read thought the Italian sourced ones might be OK. I've saved the nuts and packaging and am waiting for the FDA to return my call. I'm curious what they will say when I talk to them (assuming they do call).

  3. Please let us know if the FDA does contact you. I'm glad you found the source of the terrible taste.

  4. This happened to me! It was last year, and lasted for months - it was the most disgusting taste - and I have been eating pine nuts for years. But never ever again! There is lots on the internet about it if you search - but no one seems to know why it happens.

    Pomona x

  5. !! Wow! I'd never heard that before. I know the last time I went to the dr. he recommended I take megadoses of Vit. D. When I asked him about the dosage (it was something like 50 times the recommended daily allowance), whether it might be dangerous and what signs I should look for if it was too much, he mentioned too much Vit. D would lead to a metallic taste in your mouth. I wonder if there's a lot of that in pine nuts . . .


Thank you!